Showing posts with label City of Inverness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label City of Inverness. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Elated to Deprecated

 I found myself smiling a lot the morning I prepared Lilac for travel again.  

The months I spent this winter in Inverness, Florida, while my trailer stayed in one spot, have been full of a whole lot of fun with friends.  It has  been a flurry of activity at times, but always worth it because I was able to connect with wonderful people.

My last week in the area was no different.  

I went birding with Regis and Cindy in Weeki Wachee.  Cindy was writing down the birds she saw.  "That is the sign of a real birder," I thought.  The birds were nothing new to her, but I was thrilled because it was a beautiful day, the tree we were watching was lovely, a Silken Oak in bloom.  We were watching this particular tree.  We had heard it is a place for migrating birds to refuel on their journey north.  We watched a flock of cedar wax wings visit a few times.  Lots of little yellow birds, some I can identify but most still look alike to me.  Cindy can ID the birds by their song. When she pointed out the voice of the cedar wax wings I realized I had been tuning that noise out because it was similar to the ringing that is always in my ears. 

Then later that same day I got to go to Crumps Landing (a fun tiki-hut kind of place on Halls River in Homossassa).  I went with Debra and Glen Alford, Beth and Jim Richardson, and Debra's daughter, Lori.  Lori has started working part-time as a travel agent, specializing in unique, local experiences. We talked about our bucket lists.  

Debra and Glen are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year and are planning a trip to Mexico with Lori.  It sounds lovely. 

I hiked with Angie.  She is going to meet me for a hike to a lodge north of Atlanta in early May.  As we rested on this hike she told me a bit about hiking the El Camino in Spain and France I think.  Wow!  She advised me to get hiking poles.  I ordered some at they were waiting for me at my new mailing address in Green Cove Springs, FL.

She showed me this interesting tube-like spider web.  I thought it was the root of the tree.



I went to listen to music by the Mudds with Marilyn and Dave Hable and Linda Moore at Ednas on the Green.  It is in the newer part of the Villages, with an open air bar, lots of outdoor tables among old live oak trees draped with swaying Spanish moss.  

I told Cindy a few weeks ago that we had not done the Silver River yet this season, and it was my favorite river to kayak.  So we set a date and we went!  Diane Jacobson drove. Remember I visited her in the UP of Michigan last summer?  She is the one that took the picture off me sitting on a rock looking out over Lake Superior.  A great picture, representing all the choices and adventures we have in front of us in life.) 

We launched from Silver Springs State Park.  It was a gorgeous day and we saw manatee and several gator, baby ducks and baby anhinga and cormorant still in their nests.  Their feathers still fluffy white.

We also went past an area where the woods were flooded and from within we heard the deep rumbling mating call of a very very big alligator.  This was my first time hearing this in person after living in Florida over 12 years.

That afternoon we got back just in time for me to shower and get to a Good-bye Happy Hour at Marilyn's.  I told her, "No presents!"  After spending so much effort trimming down my belongings, the last thing I wanted was more belongings!   Hurray for having one last "Hurrah" with the Windermere gang before heading north.  Thank you, Marilyn and all!

I went for a walk around the neighborhood afterwards to let the wine wear off a bit  before driving.  I got to chat with more neighbors as I walked.  I met up with Al and Bill.  Bill has been talking with me about his plans to shop for the "next place" to live.  He is investigating Continuing Care Communities in North Carolina.  He said he is going to visit them.  If he likes one and decides to buy in, he said I could rent his place while he tries it out.  If it doesn't work out he will still have his place, and I can move back into Lilac and he will have his house.  If he likes the CCC, then he will let me have first chance at buying his villa.  Pretty cool.

I enjoy my walks and talks with Bill.  He and Al are engineers in a sense. (Al was an architect, I think.)  That is the way their brains work.  Since I was married to an engineer for 41 years and worked with engineers for a few years, I enjoy the banter and the topics, the attention to detail.

A while back Bill sent me an email that contained his own "mock blog" about his decision to buy into Windermere.  His writing was fashioned after my blog post of my decision to sell.  What a delight!  I got a few giggles out of that.

My last night in Inverness I went to Debra's of course.  She, Glen and Cricket were all feeling a bit lost as Lori and her dog had left that morning.  Cricket and Lori's dog had really gotten along well and played and played.

Debra gave me gifts.  I was going to protest. "Not more stuff!"  But then I saw what it was, and it was perfect.  

Debra has sold her Weeroll.  Sad because we had all kinds of plans to camp together.  She had decorated hers so cute and efficient.  But with her new dog and just life in general, she didn't get to camp in it much.  It was a good choice to let someone else enjoy the trailer.  




Right away I decided I would put stickers on the states as I visited them starting this year, with Florida.  And I started keeping track of my camping spots, rating them and keeping notes.  Thank you, Debra!

I took my time the morning of my launch.  I did laundry, I went to the gym.  I tried to be systematic in my packing up Lilac so I wouldn't miss anything.  It had been months since we had done this.

As I worked an Oasis neighbor would stop by to wish me safe journeys.  Linda that holds social time in her front yard most afternoons stopped by to give me a jar of strawberry jam she had made.  "Thanks but no thanks," I told her.  "I save my sugar for ice cream and cookies."   

Was I being rude?  I hope not, I didn't want one more thing to haul.  Already I have extras, stuff that I am giving to family members.

Linda and Ike are fellow trail riders that reside in Oasis.  They stopped by and I grabbed hugs.  

Joanne who was full-time living in her RV until health issues made her park in one spot for a while stopped by.  In our conversations she has told me about her times riding motorcycle with friends.  And the time she worked with other nomads for the  big sugar beet harvest in Minnesota.

All the while, saying goodbyes and packing, I was smiling.  I have had a great time in Inverness. And now it was time to get moving again.

I only had a little over two hours to travel to the first campground stop.  I took the backroads past horse ranches and fields of blooming phlox. 

I checked in and got my first passport stamps!  I was giddy.


 

After setup and using a dryer sheet and micro rag for washing all the love bugs off the car and trailer,  I had time to go for a five mile hike.   I filled my backpack to train for my hike in Georgia coming up.



 There is a ravine here that was cut by a spring fed stream.  There are several shallow lake/ponds.


My New Address

On Monday I drove to an Anytime fitness and then to the St. Brendan's Ilse, the mail service place in Green Cove Springs.

I was giddy.  And took pictures of the place which was huge, they handle mail for a LOT of people!

I had several packages waiting and mail confirming my address change.  But the Post Office didn't have the box number.  I couldn't remember if I had notified them of the goof, so I stopped at the Post Office to correct that.  The clerk had me leave a note for the person that could deal with it.  She called me later to confirm it was already corrected.  Thank you!

I then went to the DMV.  Excited to get my new address on my driver's license and register to vote here.  As a Nomad I will be allowed to vote in the state and federal elections, but not the local ones, which makes sense. 

But the lady behind the counter said I needed an appointment to get my address changed!  She directed me to the website to get an appointment.  The earliest one was the next day.  I clicked on it, the date changed to the day I leave the area!  No!  

I went and talked to the clerk again.  Try again, she says, watch the dates.

So I went on the site again.  Now the date for the earliest appointment is AFTER I leave the area.  Arg!  I made the appointment.  So now I will have to move camp to my new location and then drive all the way back here for my appointment the next day.  Fortunately that is about 90 miles each way, not 300 miles.  But it means I will miss out on the bike ride by the fields of wildflowers that is the highlight of the Suwannee Bicycle Association's Spring Pedal and Paddle event.  

This put me in a sour mood.  I had read about the reservations but understood it to be for those changing their residence from out of state.  I beat myself up, why didn't I make an appointment anyway, knowing I was here for only a short while.  Why do I do these stupid things that throw a wrench in my plans?

I drove to the address that St. Brendan's Isle told me to use for my voting address.  It had a big sign saying "Keep Out!".  And a police car seemed to follow me as I passed the first "No Trespassing" sign.  So much for the photo opportunity in front of my new address!  I turned around.

I found a pretty park, sat in the shade, and opened my mail.  

"It will all work out," I told myself.  "Relax".

The park was on the banks of the St. John's River.  There were huge boats at the marina that is my new address. I could it see across the bay.  

Back at camp I opened the package with the walking sticks and felt grumpy again.  Why did I buy these?  Angie and Marilyn said I needed them.  But to me, it seems like something else to hang onto while walking.  It is something else I have to find room for in my camper or van.  


I adjusted the walking poles, filled my pack, and practiced walking with one.  It seems like more work than without them.  But Angie says the five miles we are hiking in Georgia is up a mountain and they will be good to have.  I will continue to practice.

In the evening, a man stopped by to chat about my trailer.  Mike is a tent camper with a small utility trailer that is wired for electric.  He is from Leesburg, which is not far from Inverness.  He camps most the time and goes back home for his volunteer duties.  It was good to have company and chat with someone else thrilled about living outdoors most the time.

This morning I had planned to ride the Palatka to St. Augustine Trail.  

I got up before the alarm and decided to take my coffee down the trail to a big pond where I could watch the sun rise.  There were four instances of deer sightings on my walk and lots of animal foot prints in the sand.



As I was walking back to the trailer and the temperature was rising with the sun, I remembered people telling me the Palatka Trail is quite sunny.  I decided to save that ride for another day.  

Instead I decided to write to you.  I debated about driving to a coffee shop with better cell coverage or even wifi.  But I opted to stay in this lovely local.

Each picture took a long time to upload on the 2-line cell phone coverage here.  So already it is past four p.m.  This took all day!  And it is hot out.  I have the fan going, as I prefer to sweat than to close all the doors and windows to turn on the air.

Oh, I forgot to tell you, last night after a walk and a short bike ride, I took a shower and found a little tick adhered to my left ribs.  Even though every inch of me was sprayed with Off.  I used the Off liberally after seeing a tick by the water spigot when I was hooking up on Sunday.

I used a fancy schmancy tick remover thing I have been carrying around for a couple years on my key chain.  I tried and tried and tried.  No luck.  

I looked on line for instructions on removing a tick.  Tweezers and a steady slow pull.  Don't worry if the head gets left, your body will take care of it, the CDC and some med sites told me.  So I hunted down some tweezers I had in my trike first-aide kit.  Then I proceeded to pull and pull.  The thing is my left boob was in my line of vision, so I had to use one hand to mash it so I could see.  Then I had to figure out if I could see the little tick better with or without my glasses.  It's a good thing I do yoga.  It was quite the contortion.

Anyway, the tick is out and the area is disinfected.  No bull's eye has appeared.  

This makes me wonder what I would have done if the tick was in an even harder to reach location, like between my shoulder blades!  I would have had to hunt down a friendly face in the campground... "Could you help me?"







Sunday, April 17, 2022

The Journey to Life on Wheels

 Hello,

Wow!  Life is a trip.

I am feeling younger and stronger. 

How? You may ask.  

I took my trike to the shop in Inverness. 


 I was slowing down and I thought it was me.  My bike buddies were trying to talk me into getting an electric motor for my trike.  I resisted.  

I wanted an annual check up and lube job on my trike before I left on my travels north.

I left the trike there for them to work on.  Shortly after, the mechanic called me.  It turns out that my trike chain was a mess.

There is a little guide wheel under the seat of my trike.  There is a little bar that keeps the chain from jumping off the wheel when I shift or hit a bump.  

Some how the chain had gotten on the wrong side of that guide bar.  The mechanic said that the chain had sawed half way through that bar, the sawing had ruined the chain and my back cog and more.

It took a few days for them to get all the parts and fix it.  Boy, did it ride nice when I got it back!


Now when I ride with the group, I can keep up.  It isn't a big struggle to ride.  

In fact, on Easter Sunday I rode to Brooksville, via the Withlacoochee Trail and the Good Neighbor Trail, by myself.  It must be 54 miles round trip.  And it felt like nothing, no pain, no panting, no struggle.  In fact when I got a text from Cindy saying she just saw me bike by her house I turned around to go back and chat with her adding a mile onto my trip.  There was no way I would have done that when I was struggling to ride.

I am celebrating the life renewing effects of a smooth running bicycle.

Moving On

When I wrote you last I announced I had a buyer for my home and I would be moving out.

You may or may not be curious about all that.  But before I get to that, I feel bad about not telling you about two significant things that occurred earlier this season.  

Two VERY important things.

Two Important Items

January Family Time!

My nephew Tom and his wife Sarah contacted me to let me know they were going to be in Tampa for a few days.  They invited me to meet up.  This is really significant.  It isn't like we were super close when they were growing up.  But now that they are grown, every time I see them we have a fun time.  I was sooo honored to be invited and included in their visit to Florida.  I know how it is when you are working and you only get a week or maybe two to enjoy being away.  So I felt really lucky to be a part of their time off from work. 

It turned out I would spend two days with them.  One when they traveled up to Crystal River near me to see the Manatee and me, yes visiting me!.  Then I drove to Tampa one day when my other nephew, Jack and his husband Mike were going to be there too.  Jack and Mike only live less than two hours from me, but we usually see each other elsewhere.  Because life is happening when we are home.  You know, work and play and busy-ness.  It is always a delight to be with the four of them.



Thank you for welcoming me, Tom and Sarah, Jack and Michael.

Only, the week they were here at the end of January, 2022, was blasted windy and COLD.  In fact it was the time when it got down to 29 degrees and stayed there for a few hours at night.  What a bummer for them.  They had wanted to spend the day at the beach and outdoors, but we ended up taking a trolly around until the sun was almost down, then got off the trolly at the beach and watched the sunset while jumping around trying to keep warm.





We ended up having dinner at 9 pm.  My energizer bunny was low on power, so instead of driving back over an hour to my Weeroll, I called around and found a motel room.  It worked out well for me because I spent that very cold night in a comfortable, warm motel room in Tampa.  

Introducing Serenity Sam

The second fun thing I wanted to tell you about was my introduction to my travel companion.  Yes, I met a guy and he is going to be traveling with me.

While I was approaching the mailboxes in Windermere on my trike I stopped to chat with Peggy and Ron who live nearby.  Peggy handed me a golden monkey.  He is about six to eight inches tall, painted gold, and sitting in the lotus position.  Peggy said she had been given several and didn't have places for them all.


I immediately thought that I would give it to my friends Keith and Jean.  They have a golden frog sitting in a lotus position on their patio.  But when I took it there, I couldn't let it go.  What if I took Serenity Sam with me?  He could silently sit in the seat next to me like George did during the last years of his life.    

What if when something goes wrong I can take a picture of Serenity Sam reminding me to keep calm?  He could be like the Flat Sam that school children send around the world teaching them geography and history. 

I think he might be the ideal man for me.  He will be a great travel companion.

A Nomad Needs A Legal Address

I closed on my house on Thursday, April 14, 2022.  There are lots of stories to tell about the journey from signed contract to closing. And I will get to some of them here later. But first let's talk about my new address.

A big part of any move is changing your address.  But if you are going to be house-less, you have to make arrangements to have a place as the address for your driver's license and for voting.

You can't be homeless and have a driver's license and vote.  You have to have a legal address.  I could use an address of a friend in Florida, but then if they aren't there and something is accidentally delivered there...  

I am now getting my mail at my new address in Green Cove Springs.  St. Brendan's Isle is a mail service.  They cater to people who live on their boats.  

For the mail, I had to notify insurances and utilities of my new address, and give the Post Office my forwarding address.  St. Brendan's Isle (SBI) provides a "Domicile Declaration" form and guides their clients through how to fill it out.  This is provided to them and they get a copy to the Post Office (I guess).

I get an email each day from St. Brendan's Isle telling me how many pieces of mail I received that day.  I go up on-line and I can see a picture of the envelope and I can direct the mail service to:  Hold, Toss, Forward or Scan

It is taking a little getting used to, but I am liking it.  Of course one of the first pieces of mail was the US Post Office confirming my address change.  They have my new address a bit wrong.   I have added to my to-do list is to get that corrected.  

I haven't visited the DMV yet.  Green Cove Springs is a small town SW of Jacksonville, FL.  When I leave Inverness, (April 24, 2022, that is just a week away!) my first stop is a campground not far from Green Cove Springs.  I will visit their DMV and register to vote.  Maybe I will take Serenity Sam to the marina there which is the address that will be on my driver's license.

I will be allowed to vote in the State and Federal elections, but the county and city elections I won't be allowed to vote because I don't live there.

The mail house has all the information I needed to guide me through this transition and the few times I have called them with questions, they have been very polite and helpful.  

Some people have asked me why I have my address so far from where I will be spending my time. (In and around Inverness in the winters).  I said because another full-time RV woman told me about this service and the website made the step by step process clear and simple.  Besides, there is no mail service like that here in Citrus County that I know about.

One Person and Two Tons of Stuff

I had cleared and purged stuff before I rented my home to Frankie and Dennis this winter.  So when they left on April 2nd and I went in to start packing and moving boxes to storage, I was so surprised at how much stuff I still have!

Such spoiled Americans, we have no idea how much stuff we accumulate, and still we want more.  

I am often reminded of reading someone's will from the early 1900's or the late 1800's.  

1 Spoon

2 pots

1 mule

Or, something like that.

The Table

We bought our table and chairs in the 70's a couple years after we got married.  In 2008 we had it painted for our new life in sunny Florida.  We had family dinners, played games, and hosted dinner parties with friends at this table.  We held meetings at this table.  

When George's business, Rentapen, started cutting metal shims as one of its first manufactured products, we spent hours sanding the burs off of the shims, counting them, and putting them into little bags at this table.

Deciding to give it up was hard.  But I felt it was too big, too heavy, too worn.  Some friends said keep it, some said start new in a new place. I offered it up to the house buyers first at $250.  They didn't want it.  So I put it on Facebook Market Place.  Crickets...

I lowered the price.  I lowered it again.  Crickets...

Then at $150 I get a message request.  "Will you take $50 for the set?"

Arg!  I had been wondering if I would have a charity thrift come get it.  But sell it for $50???  Doesn't anyone value this Ethan Allen table like I do?   

I replied, "I would rather give it to charity than sell it for $50."

She responded, "Oh, Thank You!  It is for my mother who just moved here and is hard up and doesn't have a table and chairs..."

At first I was in shock and offended.  Then I thought, What do I want?   I want someone to appreciate this table and have fun around this table.  If this woman can do that, then why not?

She and her Mom came and got it within hours.  I kept two chairs because they are solid and good to use as a step up when I need to reach the top of the fridge or something.  And I kept the quilt, in case I can use it to coordinate the chairs in a spot in my new home someday.


The Back Seat


Another thing that was weighing heavy was the back seats to my Chrysler Town and Country.  I removed them because they were rarely used and the removal opened up more storage in my van and reduced the weight.  I was hanging onto them in case I sold the van.  But I have decided to keep it for another 100,000 miles.  By that time, the fact it is missing a back seat won't be a big deal.

The seats are in great shape, but when I posted them on Facebook I didn't hear a peep.  I kept lowering the price.

A few days before closing I had the Key Center Thrift come get some of the remaining pieces of furniture I wasn't putting into storage.  "Do you take car seats?"  I asked.  They must not have had a full truck scheduled because they were glad to take them off my hands.  Gone!

They also took a couple gliders, the TV and coffee table.  I don't use the TV.  I watch my computer or my cell phone.

The sectional chairs and two beds went to the people who bought my house.  Some they paid for, some I gave as gifts, like these sectional chairs.  They were left for me from the previous owner of the home.


It was also hard to give up my picnic set.  We bought it in the early 2000's.  Life was throwing us some curve balls so we would spend sunny afternoons out enjoying the yard.  We have had gatherings at this table too.  I love it but wanted to go lighter.  I want furniture that I can move on my own.  Let the new owners enjoy them.  I sold it to them, too cheap.


I have so much art!  I donated very few.  There was George's photos on canvas, prints by El Towle, and flowery paintings by Artist-friend, Jude Caborn.  Those all went into storage to give my next home fun.


There was one picture I was going to leave.  It was way up high on the wall.  A picture that George took of a Pelican that we had put on canvas.  But one of the last days, I thought I would attempt to take it down.  When we had moved in our friends, Jerry W. and David A. helped us mount the pictures.  They did an amazing job.  I thought they had mounted the pelican with L-brackets on the top side of the picture.  

I pulled out the extension ladder and extended... and extended... and extended.  Man it was high!


I started to climb, slowly, cautiously.  All the while asking myself if it was really worth it.

Then I decided, no, it wasn't worth breaking my neck.  I descended  and was going to start  bringing the ladder back down when it moved, tapped the picture, and the picture came tumbling down!  I rushed to inspect it.  No damage, one of the back braces had come loose, but there was no damage.

I was giddy.  It was like a sign from George.  "Here, take this with you."  And "Yes, this move is a good thing."  I know, silly, but it is the stories we tell ourselves that can make us happy or angry or sad.  I choose to fill my mind with happy stories.  

I had a container upstairs where our guests stayed.  The container was full of thank you notes and post cards from the years we had hosted Warmshowers guests and Evergreen Club guests and friends and even from the few months that I rented out the rooms as an Airbnb hostess.  

In storage I had a bag of all the cards and letters I received after George's death in 2018.

I hated to throw them away.  First I took pictures of them all, so that the memory still exists somewhere.

Hauling

I had two weeks to pack up all the small stuff and move it to storage.  I made sure I packed the boxes light so I wouldn't hurt myself.  

There is a couple that work on the grounds in our neighborhood and have a handy-helper kind of business on the side.  I hired them to move the big stuff into storage, like the bed and some dressers.  I was so grateful to them!  What a load off my mind.



This picture is taken while the big stuff was being added to the storage unit.  I took pictures of my full storage unit, but I can't find them on my camera.  When the storage unit was empty, I thought there was no way I was going to fill it.  But I was wrong, it is packed to about 5 feet tall in most places.  Just me, just one person, so much stuff.  

There are:
Garden tools
and regular tools
and seven years of tax papers.

There are: 
boxes of my journals
bags of linens
Tubs of kitchen utensils and pots.

There are:
dressers
chairs for relaxing
end tables of all kinds.

And I threw away and gave away so much stuff.  Carrie is a neighbor whose son does flea markets.  She was delighted with whatever I had to give her.  Lamps, dishes, widgets, tools...

She even gave me some cash for the stuff.  She filled her car two or three times with stuff.

What I threw out or gave away:
expired spices (lots)
bars of soap (I just use pump bottles now)
rags and more rags

There were:
screws for keeping and screws for my son
a ladder for me and an extension ladder for the new home owner
silverware for me and old silver for my son
Sentimental pieces of George's for his daughter, Jodie

I keep reminding myself, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, I can't take it with me to the other side of life.  I may have twenty years left or even more, but still.  Let someone else enjoy it for a while.  

Car Issues

My car is at the dealer.  It will be there for a few more days.  I wanted to get things fixed before I leave.  One issue I could not ignore, when I locked the door, it really wasn't locked.  

One day I wasn't anywhere near the car and I had the fob with me.  But a friend wanted to try to open the door and put something inside for me.  The driver's car door opened and the alarm went off.  I had suspected there was a problem when it happened to me, but I had the fob on me so I thought it had something to do with the new fob I purchased from Chrysler.

Also, the last time I wrote that after I got a new fob for the car I had not had an incident with the intermittent problem of the car not starting.  Well, shortly after I wrote that, it happened again.  When I wrote about it on Facebook several other Chrysler Town and Country Owners reported they had the same problem and that I should check the VIN number because it might be the same problem that cause Chrysler to do a recall.

But my VIN isn't included in the recall list.  The car dealer says they can not fix an intermittent problem like that.  It has to not work while in their care.

So again I will be traveling the country with a car that sometimes just won't start.  Frustrating.  They are working on the car door issue, and had to order parts.  Hopefully I will get it back on Wednesday so I can start the process of downsizing even more for my six months of travel.

Delights on Closing Day

Closing was on a Thursday at 1:00.  So I figured I could meet up with my bike group and ride a bit before riding to the closing office.  It was drizzly out when I left Oasis.  When I got to Inverness there was no one waiting to ride, but a group of the Snails was just ahead so I caught up and hung out with them.  That was delightful, even if it started to rain.  I was glad to have others willing to ride in the rain. The snails are a fun group.

They went to a restaurant five miles up the road, I turned around at that point and returned to Oasis.  I had just enough time to lay out my wet clothes and take a shower and eat lunch.  



The rain stopped and I rode to the closing.  It was quick and painless.  The buyers had signed already, the money was in my account by the end of the business day.  Whoo hoo!

On my ride on the trail I saw a small gator walking across the trail, a big mud turtle beside the trail, and a great blue heron standing on a bench next to the trail.




I had asked a friend and neighbor, Linda M. to have a happy hour on her patio that night and she did!  We drank wine and Prosecco and had a great time.  Thanks again Linda and friends for helping me mark the occasion.



As I was riding back to Oasis in the twilight, it was lovely out.  



I saw a snake.  


I texted Linda M.  She texted back that snakes shed their skin.  The snake is a symbol of change.






Friday, July 16, 2021

Moments... then planning and preparing for more moments

Life can go along and all the blessings, the joy and fun can seem ho-hum after a while.  Then something happens, a goal is reached, a plan takes shape, a fork is decided on.

The thrill returns.

Today is just such a day.  

I have been in the Rhinelander area now for over a month!  

Long enough that mushrooms are growing inside my screen tent.


West Bay Campground is wooded with lots of maple, oak and birch.  The campground is mostly quiet.


Three times I have driven to the Bearskin Trail and rode the trail.  Two of those times I rode solo from the woods into the town of Minocqua.  

The trail is 18 miles long and has a crushed gravel surface.  One end is in the bustling and touristy town of Minocqua, and the other end is out in the quiet woods near the the intersection of Hwy K and Hwy 51.


I love the stories of the early rail days that are told on the kiosks along the trail.  When they were trying to create a causeway through the swamp to Minocqua for the railroad they would dump loads of sand and gravel until they no longer sunk.  Once, they had a portion they thought was solid and they had several horses and mules pulling loads over the causeway when part of it sunk and they lost the wagons and the animals in the deep muck.

Once the railroad was operational, one of the trains derailed when crossing a long bridge over a swamp.  The engine and three rail cars fell into the swamp.  The workers arranged for two cranes to come and help pull them out.  While pulling, one of the cranes also fell into the swamp.  After much effort they finally gave up.  The kiosk says that if you poke a long pole down about 50 feet in the right place you will hit solid metal.  The peat and muck go about 90 feet deep.  Wow!

One day I spent getting stuff together for the bike tour I am planning on doing on the Allegheny Gap Trail in Pennsylvania in September.  I packed up the bike and decided I needed a smaller and lighter-weight sleeping bag and a few other things.


I found an expandable bottle holder that I bought at the local bike shop.  It will fit the water-filter bottle I have.

I think I will be able to fit everything into two bags and my tent bag.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.  The key is to keep the food items small.  No big bags of popcorn!



A new friend I made while biking here let me try her two-wheel electric bicycle.  I didn't care for the electric, but I loved her comfortable handles.  I bought a pair, they were too long, I cut them to fit my bike.


It is interesting that I wanted to stay at a place on the water and with a beach.  But I have only gone swimming in this lake one time.  One evening I sat on the dock and read while the sun went down. 


I try to keep eating healthy on this trip.  I still manage to eat a lot of junk food, but each week I make a big pot of veggies.  One time I boiled some eggs in the same pot at the same time.  I don't mind eating these veggies several times a week when it is so easy to just add sauce and heat up in the microwave.
 

In early July I drove back down to Waukesha, Wisconsin.  A friend had passed this past winter and they were having a life celebration.  I had known this man through our Newcomers Club (that was still having potlucks 27 years after we were new to town).  

I left Lilac in the campground and stayed in Waukesha with friends Mark and Jane.  Mark was good enough to meet up with me when I got to town and ride the Glacial Drumlin Trail and a few country roads.  It was a great ride and made the day in the car seem so easy.

Besides seeing people I knew from our Newcomers Club, I was able to meet up with the three woman friends who had agreed to read through the rough draft of my third book.  

I received some great advice and of course lots of edit marks.  Thank you beta-reading ladies, Sandy, Jeri, and Kathi.  I haven't even begun to start working on the book.  I am living life right now.

On my last morning in Waukesha, Mark and Jane and I went to breakfast and then walked over to the Farmer's market. 


 
Even though I saw Sandy in Waukesha, it was great to have them come stay at the same campground with me!  

We have hiked together and John and I biked about 16 miles on the Bearskin Trail while Sandy hung out in Minocqua.  Sandy is nurturing an injury that prevents her from riding right now.

We dined at a cool restaurant with outdoor seating with Susan Watson.  She is that new friend I told you about with the electric assist on her two-wheel bike.  We had a super time at supper time, laughing and getting to know each other better.


Pictured are Sandy, Sue, and John at CT's Deli in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

***

While all this activity was going on I was contacted by snowbird friends, Denis and Frankie.  They were looking for a place to rent near Inverness and the Withlacoochee Trail in Florida.  Did I know of any places?  

That decided it. I had been toying with the idea of not selling my place, but renting it out while I am gone so much of the year traveling.  I contacted a rental management company that was recommended to me by a friend and neighbor.  Thanks Linda!

I am going to rent out my home to seasonal or short-term renters (3-7 months).   That way I will have some time each year to go in there if I choose to.  The paperwork is done.  I still have my deposit in at the Oasis RV Park in Inverness where I plan to stay this winter, hopefully with Lilac (my trailer).

My sister asked me why.  

I said that living in Lilac is simple.  It is more outside time.  And the money from the rentals will help pay for some renovations to my home... or more travel.  AND I get to experiment and experience what long-term living this way feels like.  

It is definitely something I couldn't have done with George.  He would have wanted more luxury, stuff, and room.  I would have needed a bigger everything to fit two people.  This is just right for one... at least for now. 

***

Another goal I have been working on is jumping up on a box.  I am up to five risers on the step.  Today I tried to do a metal step of the same height.  I did it three times and then I began to doubt I could do it.  I lost my courage and with it the ability to take the leap!  Isn't that something?  Instead I had to switch over to the rounder softer step.  Then I jumped up on it for three sets of eight.  Go figure.

The picture is only four risers.  I have since added a riser.


I bought another few weeks of training.  I am getting stronger, but the chin ups and push-up goals are still waiting to be achieved. 

***

I reserved a U haul in Washington, D.C. for the end of our bike trip on the Great Allegheny Gap Trail and the C&O Trail.  We will use it to haul us and our bikes back to our cars in Pittsburg.  I tried renting a van, but I couldn't find any that fit our needs and was available.

I mentioned to Joan that maybe we will have so much fun we will just turn around and ride back to our cars.  She was thinking the same thing, but said to keep the U haul reservation just in case.  We are both going to leave our schedules open just in case...

***

In a day I move onto a different location but still in this area of Wisconsin.  From that new campground home base I am going to set out on a mini bike tour to test my equipment.  I haven't routed it yet or decided which direction to go.  We'll see what happens... of course I will let you know. 

Just as I am leaving this area, my friend John LaFave is going to be doing the Pedal Across Wisconsin (I think that is the name of the ride) and will be in Rhinelander!  We will be just missing each other by a few hours.  Later this week his ride will be in Boulder Junction.  Maybe I will be there too.  I don't know.

***

My friend Bev who was in my Creative Writing Class in high school suggested I look over my posts carefully to catch more of the grammar and spelling mistakes.  I am trying to do better.  It takes a few hours to do one of these posts.   Sometimes the internet is crappy.  Sometimes the post is sandwiched between activities.  

For example, I took my bike in for maintenance and now I have to go pick it up before the store closes for the day.  I am reminded of a wall decoration... "Bless this Mess".

Well, I just wanted to fill you in on stuff.  

I am missing my Florida folks.  Gosh, I want to list you all and send you love and hugs.  

I want to thank Connie and Jerry for the surprise calls and texts.  Thanks to Ann who has been advising me on what to expect on the bike tour in September.  Thanks to those of you that respond to this letter and comment on the site or send me an email.  It is great to hear from you!

I hope you too are finding things in life to celebrate and bring you joy and gratitude. 

 

Friday, June 19, 2020

Launching a Trip Now, During COVID

“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. 

Live it, feel it, cling to it. 

I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.”   Sylvia Plath

The last time I posted I was feeling anxious and not very up-beat.  I apologize if I passed on those feelings to you. 

I am better now.  I hope you are ok too.

There are several things that turned it around for me.

I realized I wasn't focusing on the good in my life.  I have learned before that making a little effort to change my outlook makes a difference in how I view the world and my happiness level.  I made a list of things I am grateful for.    I was amazed when in no time at all I had filled three pages in my journal.  I could have gone on and on and on.   Wow!

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the changes and things in the news, I suggest you try that exercise.

I blocked a few people on Facebook.  Not that I don't like them as people, it is just that we were not getting any closer to common ground and it was starting to stress me out even when I wasn't on Facebook. 

I watched some artsy videos on Youtube instead of the news.  I was so impressed with the Alvin Aily Dance School fund raiser that I sent in a donation the next day.  Here is a link to a dance performance about Greenwold or this short one that is more uplifting.

I had the air conditioner installed in my Weeroll at the Weeroll manufacturer.  They reimbursed me for the cost of getting someone in to replace the grease cap on the wheel of my camper on my first camping trip/shake down trip. So I didn't have to write a check and I got money put in my Paypal account!  Yay!



On the way home from Weeroll I was listening to the radio and you know how sometimes they have those inspirational breaks.  Some minister will come on with a story or words of hope.  Well, one of those came on and it was a great reminder to me that so much more good is in the world than bad.  

He reminded me that when we see or hear on the news about someone doing something bad we need to remember that for every bad act, there is hundreds if not thousands of people doing good.  As I write this people are picking up litter, calling on the sick, sewing and sending out face masks, educating and caring for children, donating food and supplies, complimenting and thanking others.   For every act of looting there are thousands demonstrating peacefully.  For every shooting there are hundreds de-escalating situations, comforting others, kneeling or dancing with others, giving and sharing, smiling and laughing together.

 I brought the camper home and plugged it in and the air conditioner worked.  While I was at it my neighbor Ken came and asked if I needed help drilling anything.  I wanted a couple more tie-down rings.  So yes!  He installed two more for me.  Thank you, Ken!

Another thing that happened was my sister started sharing her peaceful moments in pictures.  Lovely pictures of quiet waters reflecting rocks and trees or pictures of lovely mushrooms or spring flowers.  

Our Wisconsin friend Mark has been sending out emails every day with lovely pictures from his walks or his yard where he has had a variety of birds visiting his bird feeder and pond this spring.  It is a lovely way to brighten our days during COVID physical distancing.  Thank you, Mark.  Thank you, Mary.

Then, of course, there is biking.  

And though I am still the odd gal out (most of my bike buddies are couples),  I have had wonderful rides side by side with Margaret and then Mari.  One day Holly. who lost her husband recently, rode by my side for a while.  I love that!  I don't mind riding by myself, but I tell you, I just am so thrilled when the conversation is flowing at the same time we are rolling on the trail.  I feel worthy of company and I value that feeling so much!  Especially now that hosting parties and gatherings are on hold.

The Tall Guy

This morning I walked down to Wallace Brooks Park where they have what I call a playground for adults.  I was doing pushups and trying to do pull ups and other exercises.  A tall slim guy with pinkish round glasses stopped.

I had seen him before and he had kept looking at me as he walked around the sidewalk that goes in a circle around the park.  I remember thinking about him as I left that day, wondering if he had an interest in me.  It could be that I looked like someone he knew or he was watching for what exercises I did.  But I let my mind wander over to maybe he was interested in meeting me.

Well this morning he stopped and said, "How is your exercises coming?"  

I said good as I walked over to do my pushups on the low bar. 

He complimented me on my shirt.  I thanked him and couldn't think of anything else to say so I started doing pushups.  He paused and then kept walking.

I looked for him after my set was done.  He was gone, I think I saw him in the parking lot getting into a car.

As I thought about the interaction, I realized I should have talked more, asked questions.  Found out why he was stopping to talk.  Was he a creep?  Was he a nice guy that was interested?  Was he one of the advocates for the adult fitness equipment and was pleased to see someone using it?   I then realized he had been wearing long pants and a dress shirt, like he was going to work after his walk.  I bet he was instrumental in the design of Wallace Brooks Park.

Maybe I will try to get down to the park at the same time in the next few days and get another chance to talk with him and learn what's what.   Why is this interaction causing my synopsis to fire?

But, hey, I am leaving town in a few days.  So even if there is a possibility that he was interested in getting to know me, it's not good timing.  

Getting Ready to Go TRIPPIN'!

I am set to go.  I have neighbors and others to watch over my place closely.  

I am getting very excited.  

My first stop on this adventure is a gathering of other women campers.  Sisters on the Fly will be gathering for physical distance socializing and fun at a campground on the Suwanee River.  Instead of potlucks we will gather with our own personal meal and set our chairs six feet apart outside.   

 That was another thing I heard on the radio the other day.  Someone said, "I hate the term social distancing."  They went on to say that we are social animals.  We need to connect with each other.  Covid shouldn't prevent us from doing that.  And we can do that while remaining physically distant.  

Yes!  Like six feet and outside, or inside if everyone wears a mask.  See it is the concentration of the droplets that is creating infection.  So if you are in a well ventilated area like outside and apart from each other or you are all wearing masks, the amount of droplets is dissipated (or absorbed by the masks) and that reduces the chance of infection.    Yay!  It is nice to hear I am doing it right for a change.

Come along with me on this trip to Wisconsin.

If you have not been receiving emails from me notifying you of these posts, Then click here and give me your email address so I can let you know when I post again.  

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Book News

 Both my ebooks are on sale for $2.99 during June, which is Alzheimer's and Brain Health Awareness Month.  Visit AlzAuthors and see what other dementia-related books are available... some for free!

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PS

I would like to say, Happy Juneteenth!  Over two years after the slaves were freed by the emancipation proclamation, the news was announced in Texas.   I learned that the Wiki page on Juneteenth has an increased viewing of 850% over last year at this time.  

Open our eyes, open our minds, open our hearts.

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